Mom's Book

by Janet Neilson
St. Louis, Missouri (about 1980)

Note: These poems were copied by Ted Lollis from "Mom's Book," a 38-page undated volume of
Janet Neilson's poems created for her by members of her family.

The copy in our cottage is inscribed "To George and Mary Evalyn.With Love --- Janet."

Here are her three poems about Campbell Park in Pentwater, Michigan:


We climb together
The steep winding path
Leaving behind us
The sound of the waves
As they wash the sands
Of the shore.

Breaking through a curtain
Of scrub oak and hemlock
We find the old ridge path
Worn deep
By summers of footsteps,
Winding up through the years.

Through feathery bracken
That borders the way,
Set with wintergreen,
Sparkled with dew-dotted silk,
We climb
As we brush glistening cobwebs away.

The fresh scent of morning
Bears the song of a thrush.
A vireo, meek but persistent,
And the tune of the tanager
Measures its cadence.

We part the last branches
Revealing the summit
And feel the full sun
On our upturned faces,
Our feet sliding cool
In the velvety sand
At the top of the world,
In the blue of the sky.


The waves whisper their vespers
For me as I linger alone
Watching the great hot ball
Sink into its own mirage,
Sputtering and shattering itself
In the cold of the
Crescent horizon.

Broken bits of blazing gold nuggets
Chuckle their way to my feet
When I stand
In the soul of the sand.

They bounce on the waves
In a playful ballet
And wriggle fishlike
Beheath lavender ripples
Awash on a golden path.

I kneel in the hush of the light
Gathering my riches
Into my arms
In the violet edge
Of the night.


Martins have finally found
Campbell Park,
The Griggsville clan
I prefer to believe,
From Illinois, the best of course,
Accepting a gracious invitation
Of Griggsville apartments
For let.

Gurbling and trilling
They carry on
As the best martins should
And we all feel

For Betty and Van
Pentwater, June 1976

(who maintained a purple martin box
for many years by the boardwalk in
front of their Campbell Park cottage)